Appeal, No. 12, Jan. T., 1955, from decree of Orphans' Court of Montour County, Feb. T., 1952, No. 5, in Estate of Oliver A. Blecher, deceased. Decree affirmed.
E. Eugene Eves, with him Hervey B. Smith and Smith & Eves, for appellants.
R. S. Hemingway, for appellee.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE
The appeal is from a decree of the Orphans' Court of Montour County which sustains the validity of an alleged common law marriage.
Oliver A. Blecher, the decedent, and Minnie A. Blecher, alleged surviving spouse and appellee, were married in a religious ceremonial service on March 31, 1927. Both had been married before. Each had children by their respective spouses. After marriage they
cohabited as man and wife until just previous to 1938, when they separated. Appellee went to live with a daughter who resided a number of miles distant from appellee's home. The parties were divorced on April 29, 1938. No children were born of this marriage, or of the later alleged common law marriage. The parties did not encounter each other from the date of the divorce in April, 1938, until they met at a picnic in July, 1938. Appellee testified that decedent invited her to inspect his new automobile and to take a ride. She accepted the invitation. During the ride, appellee testified, decedent stated that he was sorry that he had ever started the divorce and said "You are my wife; I am your husband and we are going to live together the same as we did before". She testified that she said in reply: "You are my husband and I am your wife".
From July, 1938, decedent called on appellee "about every Saturday afternoon" and remained until Sunday afternoon. In November, 1938, decedent started to build a new home which was completed in November, 1939. Appellee testified that when the house was finished decedent said to her: "You are my wife and I am your husband, and we will live as man and wife" and that appellee replied: "You are my husband and I am your wife". Following this conversation appellee moved all her household furniture into the new home. Thereafter the parties lived together as husband and wife from November, 1939, until decedent's death in June of 1951. There was considerable evidence of cohabitation and reputation. Judge KREISHER, an able and experienced judge, reviewed the testimony in a thorough and analytical opinion of forty printed pages. He accepted as credible appellee's testimony.
The judge found that decedent and appellee, following a religious marriage ceremony, lived together as husband and wife ...